The scene: Mr. Corbett’s 7th grade art class, Neil Hafley Elementary, Manteca, California
The year: 1985 (was it really that long ago? sheesh)
The players: Felicia, Aileen and a bully (who is no longer a bully but a very nice man with a very nice family so we won’t use his name here)
The entire class engaged in some mindless cut and paste project that our Art/Science teacher assigned us. Neil Hafley is a very small school and all teachers taught two subjects. The art and science overlap was pretty hilarious since our science teacher looked, acted, and sounded like Ed Asner. Maybe he had an artistic soul? Anyway, the bully took Felicia’s glue. When she asked for it back, he refused. Felicia is not now, nor has she ever been, one to back off. She demanded the return of her property.
The bully refused and began to tease and be mean to Felicia. Aileen stepped in and told the bully to leave Felicia alone and probably got her glue back for her.
Why did Aileen do this? If you will remember, Felicia and Aileen were not friends yet. Even after years of reviewing this incident, we have no answers to this question, except that Aileen tends to not mind her own business.
After that day, there was pizza consumed and 7th grade shenanigans engaged in and then a trip to Old Sacramento with Aileen’s family. The fact Felicia still wanted to be friends with Aileen after spending all day with her family is probably why Aileen followed Felicia around for the next 5 years.
Felicia left for college (because she did her homework, unlike Aileen) and Aileen did whatever underachieving kids did in 1990. And that could very well have been the end of their friendship. But it wasn’t. And just like why Aileen stood up for Felicia, we can’t remember why we remained friends. Our lives went in very different directions after high school. It wasn’t until we were well into our 20’s that it occurred to us how easily we could have grown apart. After that we never left our friendship to chance.
We called, we wrote, we visited. We were lucky.